Canada's NDP


October 12th, 2021

We Need to End Private Long-term Care

Canadian seniors deserve much better treatment than what they have received from this Liberal Government since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of adopting a universal approach to help Canadians through the pandemic, Liberals initially chose to launch a complicated series of programs that left seniors and people living with disabilities behind. New Democrats successfully pushed the government to provide some financial support for Canadian seniors, but for many low-income seniors this support was not adequate.

In addition, across the country there has been an astonishing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes, where many seniors vulnerable to COVID-19 live. In the first wave, over 80% of COVID-19 deaths happened in long-term care, and it is getting worse as we experience the second wave. It is disgraceful that Canada has one of the highest proportions of death in long-term care in the world. Our loved ones in long-term care deserve better.

For months, my NDP colleagues and I have been fighting for the rights and dignity of seniors by calling for an end to privatized long-term care and for the implementation of national standards of care.

Years of consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have defunded and privatized the important health services our seniors rely on. The current Liberal government has continued the Conservative’s planned $31 billion cuts to expected funding through Health Transfers over ten years and took no action to implement any national standards for care homes. Without national standards, the Liberals have left the door open for for-profit companies to cut corners — at the expense of seniors. Seniors living in for-profit homes are four times as likely to become infected and die from the virus than in non-profit homes.

Justin Trudeau must put an end to privately owned or for-profit - homes immediately and he needs to start with the -- companies the federal government owns like Revera. Revera care homes have had multiple COVID-19 outbreaks across Canada and have led to at least 230 deaths. It is vital that Revera is brought under public ownership and operation, so that our seniors in these facilities can receive a proper standard of living and of care.

I will be pushing the government to implement a Seniors Care Guarantee, which includes a promise to seniors that they will have safe, dignified care available to them as they age, both at home and in care homes. The government must take action to ensure families know their loved ones will have the care they deserve, with inspections, appropriate levels of care and staff ratios. We also need to guarantee that workers have access to safe working conditions, as well as wages that reflect the value of their work and allow them to live comfortably without having to work multiple jobs.

All seniors should have access to the services and supports they depend on, and seniors in long-term care must get the quality care they deserve. My New Democrat colleagues and I have been pushing for expanded income supports, investments in housing, universal pharmacare, and a guaranteed annual income so that no senior is forced to live without dignity or unable to meet their basic needs.

I will continue to fight for seniors in Victoria and across Canada. Everyone deserves to be able to age well, living in dignity as a valued member of our community.